In our Fundamentals of Genetics lab, students perform a wide variety of labs to reinforce and extend the topics covered in lecture. I developed an active-learning lab to augment the lecture topic of mutagenesis. In this lab exercise, students determine if a compound they bring from home is a mutagen. Students are required to read extensive background material, perform research to find a potential mutagen to test, develop a hypothesis, and bring to the lab their own suspected mutagen. This lab uses a specially developed strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, D7, to determine if a compound is a mutagen. Mutagenesis of the D7 genome can lead to a scorable alteration in the phenotypes of this strain. Students outline and carry out a protocol for treatment of the yeast tester strain, utilizing the concept of dose/response and positive and negative controls. Students report on their results using a PowerPoint presentation to simulate giving a scientific presentation. The students' self-assessment of their knowledge indicated that, in all cases, the students felt that they knew more about the assay, mutagenesis, and the relationship between genotype and phenotype (P < 0.05) after completing the exercise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)